The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6
by Lord Byron
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Then, having settled his marine affairs, Despatching single cruisers here and there, His vessel having need of some repairs, He shaped his course to where his daughter fair Continued still her hospitable cares; But that part of the coast being shoal and bare, And rough with reefs which ran out many a mile, His port lay on the other side o' the isle.


And there he went ashore without delay, Having no custom-house nor quarantine To ask him awkward questions on the way, About the time and place where he had been: He left his ship to be hove down next day, With orders to the people to careen; So that all hands were busy beyond measure, In getting out goods, ballast, guns, and treasure.


Arriving at the summit of a hill Which overlooked the white walls of his home, He stopped.—What singular emotions fill Their bosoms who have been induced to roam! With fluttering doubts if all be well or ill— With love for many, and with fears for some; All feelings which o'erleap the years long lost, And bring our hearts back to their starting-post.


The approach of home to husbands and to sires, After long travelling by land or water, Most naturally some small doubt inspires— A female family's a serious matter, (None trusts the sex more, or so much admires— But they hate flattery, so I never flatter); Wives in their husbands' absences grow subtler, And daughters sometimes run off with the butler.


An honest gentleman at his return May not have the good fortune of Ulysses; Not all lone matrons for their husbands mourn, Or show the same dislike to suitors' kisses; The odds are that he finds a handsome urn To his memory—and two or three young misses Born to some friend, who holds his wife and riches— And that his Argus[177]—bites him by the breeches.


If single, probably his plighted Fair Has in his absence wedded some rich miser; But all the better, for the happy pair May quarrel, and, the lady growing wiser, He may resume his amatory care As cavalier servente, or despise her; And that his sorrow may not be a dumb one, Writes odes on the Inconstancy of Woman.


And oh! ye gentlemen who have already Some chaste liaison of the kind—I mean An honest friendship with a married lady— The only thing of this sort ever seen To last—of all connections the most steady, And the true Hymen, (the first's but a screen)— Yet, for all that, keep not too long away— I've known the absent wronged four times a day.[cl]


Lambro, our sea-solicitor, who had Much less experience of dry land than Ocean, On seeing his own chimney-smoke, felt glad; But not knowing metaphysics, had no notion Of the true reason of his not being sad, Or that of any other strong emotion; He loved his child, and would have wept the loss of her, But knew the cause no more than a philosopher.


He saw his white walls shining in the sun, His garden trees all shadowy and green; He heard his rivulet's light bubbling run, The distant dog-bark; and perceived between The umbrage of the wood, so cool and dun, The moving figures, and the sparkling sheen Of arms (in the East all arm)—and various dyes Of coloured garbs, as bright as butterflies.


And as the spot where they appear he nears, Surprised at these unwonted signs of idling, He hears—alas! no music of the spheres, But an unhallowed, earthly sound of fiddling! A melody which made him doubt his ears, The cause being past his guessing or unriddling; A pipe, too, and a drum, and shortly after— A most unoriental roar of laughter.


And still more nearly to the place advancing, Descending rather quickly the declivity, Through the waved branches o'er the greensward glancing, 'Midst other indications of festivity, Seeing a troop of his domestics dancing Like Dervises, who turn as on a pivot, he Perceived it was the Pyrrhic dance[178] so martial, To which the Levantines are very partial.


And further on a troop of Grecian girls,[179] The first and tallest her white kerchief waving, Were strung together like a row of pearls, Linked hand in hand, and dancing; each too having Down her white neck long floating auburn curls— (The least of which would set ten poets raving);[cm] Their leader sang—and bounded to her song With choral step and voice the virgin throng.


And here, assembled cross-legged round their trays, Small social parties just begun to dine; Pilaus and meats of all sorts met the gaze, And flasks of Samian and of Chian wine, And sherbet cooling in the porous vase; Above them their dessert grew on its vine;— The orange and pomegranate nodding o'er, Dropped in their laps, scarce plucked, their mellow store.


A band of children, round a snow-white ram,[180] There wreathe his venerable horns with flowers; While peaceful as if still an unweaned lamb, The patriarch of the flock all gently cowers His sober head, majestically tame, Or eats from out the palm, or playful lowers His brow, as if in act to butt, and then Yielding to their small hands, draws back again.


Their classical profiles, and glittering dresses, Their large black eyes, and soft seraphic cheeks, Crimson as cleft pomegranates, their long tresses, The gesture which enchants, the eye that speaks, The innocence which happy childhood blesses, Made quite a picture of these little Greeks; So that the philosophical beholder Sighed for their sakes—that they should e'er grow older.


Afar, a dwarf buffoon stood telling tales To a sedate grey circle of old smokers, Of secret treasures found in hidden vales, Of wonderful replies from Arab jokers, Of charms to make good gold and cure bad ails, Of rocks bewitched that open to the knockers, Of magic ladies who, by one sole act, Transformed their lords to beasts (but that's a fact).


Here was no lack of innocent diversion For the imagination or the senses, Song, dance, wine, music, stories from the Persian, All pretty pastimes in which no offence is; But Lambro saw all these things with aversion, Perceiving in his absence such expenses, Dreading that climax of all human ills, The inflammation of his weekly bills.


Ah! what is man? what perils still environ[181] The happiest mortals even after dinner! A day of gold from out an age of iron Is all that Life allows the luckiest sinner; Pleasure (whene'er she sings, at least) 's a Siren, That lures, to flay alive, the young beginner; Lambro's reception at his people's banquet Was such as fire accords to a wet blanket.


He—being a man who seldom used a word Too much, and wishing gladly to surprise (In general he surprised men with the sword) His daughter—had not sent before to advise Of his arrival, so that no one stirred; And long he paused to re-assure his eyes, In fact much more astonished than delighted, To find so much good company invited.


He did not know (alas! how men will lie) That a report (especially the Greeks) Avouched his death (such people never die), And put his house in mourning several weeks,— But now their eyes and also lips were dry; The bloom, too, had returned to Haidee's cheeks: Her tears, too, being returned into their fount, She now kept house upon her own account.


Hence all this rice, meat, dancing, wine, and fiddling, Which turned the isle into a place of pleasure; The servants all were getting drunk or idling, A life which made them happy beyond measure. Her father's hospitality seemed middling, Compared with what Haidee did with his treasure; 'T was wonderful how things went on improving, While she had not one hour to spare from loving.[cn]


Perhaps you think, in stumbling on this feast, He flew into a passion, and in fact There was no mighty reason to be pleased; Perhaps you prophesy some sudden act, The whip, the rack, or dungeon at the least, To teach his people to be more exact, And that, proceeding at a very high rate, He showed the royal penchants of a pirate.


You're wrong.—He was the mildest mannered man That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat; With such true breeding of a gentleman, You never could divine his real thought; No courtier could, and scarcely woman can Gird more deceit within a petticoat; Pity he loved adventurous life's variety, He was so great a loss to good society.


Advancing to the nearest dinner tray, Tapping the shoulder of the nighest guest, With a peculiar smile, which, by the way, Boded no good, whatever it expressed, He asked the meaning of this holiday; The vinous Greek to whom he had addressed His question, much too merry to divine The questioner, filled up a glass of wine,


And without turning his facetious head, Over his shoulder, with a Bacchant air, Presented the o'erflowing cup, and said, "Talking's dry work, I have no time to spare." A second hiccuped, "Our old Master's dead, You'd better ask our Mistress who's his heir." "Our Mistress!" quoth a third: "Our Mistress!—pooh!— You mean our Master—not the old, but new."


These rascals, being new comers, knew not whom They thus addressed—and Lambro's visage fell— And o'er his eye a momentary gloom Passed, but he strove quite courteously to quell The expression, and endeavouring to resume His smile, requested one of them to tell The name and quality of his new patron, Who seemed to have turned Haidee into a matron.


"I know not," quoth the fellow, "who or what He is, nor whence he came—and little care; But this I know, that this roast capon's fat, And that good wine ne'er washed down better fare; And if you are not satisfied with that, Direct your questions to my neighbour there; He'll answer all for better or for worse, For none likes more to hear himself converse."[182]


I said that Lambro was a man of patience, And certainly he showed the best of breeding, Which scarce even France, the Paragon of nations, E'er saw her most polite of sons exceeding; He bore these sneers against his near relations, His own anxiety, his heart, too, bleeding, The insults, too, of every servile glutton, Who all the time was eating up his mutton.


Now in a person used to much command— To bid men come, and go, and come again— To see his orders done, too, out of hand— Whether the word was death, or but the chain— It may seem strange to find his manners bland; Yet such things are, which I cannot explain, Though, doubtless, he who can command himself Is good to govern—almost as a Guelf.


Not that he was not sometimes rash or so, But never in his real and serious mood; Then calm, concentrated, and still, and slow, He lay coiled like the Boa in the wood; With him it never was a word and blow, His angry word once o'er, he shed no blood, But in his silence there was much to rue, And his one blow left little work for two.


He asked no further questions, and proceeded On to the house, but by a private way, So that the few who met him hardly heeded, So little they expected him that day; If love paternal in his bosom pleaded For Haidee's sake, is more than I can say, But certainly to one deemed dead returning, This revel seemed a curious mode of mourning.


If all the dead could now return to life, (Which God forbid!) or some, or a great many, For instance, if a husband or his wife[co] (Nuptial examples are as good as any), No doubt whate'er might be their former strife, The present weather would be much more rainy— Tears shed into the grave of the connection Would share most probably its resurrection.


He entered in the house no more his home, A thing to human feelings the most trying, And harder for the heart to overcome, Perhaps, than even the mental pangs of dying; To find our hearthstone turned into a tomb, And round its once warm precincts palely lying The ashes of our hopes, is a deep grief, Beyond a single gentleman's belief.


He entered in the house—his home no more, For without hearts there is no home;—and felt The solitude of passing his own door Without a welcome: there he long had dwelt, There his few peaceful days Time had swept o'er, There his worn bosom and keen eye would melt Over the innocence of that sweet child, His only shrine of feelings undefiled.


He was a man of a strange temperament, Of mild demeanour though of savage mood, Moderate in all his habits, and content With temperance in pleasure, as in food, Quick to perceive, and strong to bear, and meant For something better, if not wholly good; His Country's wrongs and his despair to save her Had stung him from a slave to an enslaver.


The love of power, and rapid gain of gold, The hardness by long habitude produced, The dangerous life in which he had grown old, The mercy he had granted oft abused, The sights he was accustomed to behold, The wild seas, and wild men with whom he cruised, Had cost his enemies a long repentance, And made him a good friend, but bad acquaintance.


But something of the spirit of old Greece Flashed o'er his soul a few heroic rays, Such as lit onward to the Golden Fleece His predecessors in the Colchian days; 'T is true he had no ardent love for peace— Alas! his country showed no path to praise: Hate to the world and war with every nation He waged, in vengeance of her degradation.


Still o'er his mind the influence of the clime Shed its Ionian elegance, which showed Its power unconsciously full many a time,— A taste seen in the choice of his abode, A love of music and of scenes sublime, A pleasure in the gentle stream that flowed Past him in crystal, and a joy in flowers, Bedewed his spirit in his calmer hours.


But whatsoe'er he had of love reposed On that beloved daughter; she had been The only thing which kept his heart unclosed Amidst the savage deeds he had done and seen, A lonely pure affection unopposed: There wanted but the loss of this to wean His feelings from all milk of human kindness, And turn him like the Cyclops mad with blindness.[cp]


The cubless tigress in her jungle raging Is dreadful to the shepherd and the flock; The Ocean when its yeasty war is waging Is awful to the vessel near the rock; But violent things will sooner bear assuaging, Their fury being spent by its own shock, Than the stern, single, deep, and wordless ire[cq] Of a strong human heart, and in a Sire.


It is a hard although a common case To find our children running restive—they In whom our brightest days we would retrace, Our little selves re-formed in finer clay, Just as old age is creeping on apace, And clouds come o'er the sunset of our day, They kindly leave us, though not quite alone, But in good company—the gout or stone.


Yet a fine family is a fine thing (Provided they don't come in after dinner); 'T is beautiful to see a matron bring Her children up (if nursing them don't thin her); Like cherubs round an altar-piece they cling To the fire-side (a sight to touch a sinner). A lady with her daughters or her nieces Shine like a guinea and seven-shilling pieces.


Old Lambro passed unseen a private gate, And stood within his hall at eventide; Meantime the lady and her lover sate At wassail in their beauty and their pride: An ivory inlaid table spread with state Before them, and fair slaves on every side;[183] Gems, gold, and silver, formed the service mostly, Mother of pearl and coral the less costly.


The dinner made about a hundred dishes; Lamb and pistachio nuts—in short, all meats, And saffron soups, and sweetbreads; and the fishes Were of the finest that e'er flounced in nets, Dressed to a Sybarite's most pampered wishes; The beverage was various sherbets Of raisin, orange, and pomegranate juice, Squeezed through the rind, which makes it best for use.


These were ranged round, each in its crystal ewer, And fruits, and date-bread loaves closed the repast, And Mocha's berry, from Arabia pure, In small fine China cups, came in at last; Gold cups of filigree, made to secure The hand from burning, underneath them placed; Cloves, cinnamon, and saffron too were boiled Up with the coffee, which (I think) they spoiled.


The hangings of the room were tapestry, made Of velvet panels, each of different hue, And thick with damask flowers of silk inlaid; And round them ran a yellow border too; The upper border, richly wrought, displayed, Embroidered delicately o'er with blue, Soft Persian sentences, in lilac letters, From poets, or the moralists their betters.


These Oriental writings on the wall, Quite common in those countries, are a kind Of monitors adapted to recall, Like skulls at Memphian banquets, to the mind, The words which shook Belshazzar in his hall, And took his kingdom from him: You will find, Though sages may pour out their wisdom's treasure, There is no sterner moralist than Pleasure.


A Beauty at the season's close grown hectic, A Genius who has drunk himself to death, A Rake turned methodistic, or Eclectic—[184] (For that's the name they like to pray beneath)—[cr] But most, an Alderman struck apoplectic, Are things that really take away the breath,— And show that late hours, wine, and love are able To do not much less damage than the table.


Haidee and Juan carpeted their feet On crimson satin, bordered with pale blue; Their sofa occupied three parts complete Of the apartment—and appeared quite new; The velvet cushions (for a throne more meet) Were scarlet, from whose glowing centre grew A sun embossed in gold, whose rays of tissue, Meridian-like, were seen all light to issue.[cs]


Crystal and marble, plate and porcelain, Had done their work of splendour; Indian mats And Persian carpets, which the heart bled to stain, Over the floors were spread; gazelles and cats, And dwarfs and blacks, and such like things, that gain Their bread as ministers and favourites (that's To say, by degradation) mingled there As plentiful as in a court, or fair.


There was no want of lofty mirrors, and The tables, most of ebony inlaid With mother of pearl or ivory, stood at hand, Or were of tortoise-shell or rare woods made, Fretted with gold or silver:—by command The greater part of these were ready spread With viands and sherbets in ice—and wine— Kept for all comers at all hours to dine.


Of all the dresses I select Haidee's: She wore two jelicks—one was of pale yellow; Of azure, pink, and white was her chemise— 'Neath which her breast heaved like a little billow: With buttons formed of pearls as large as peas, All gold and crimson shone her jelick's fellow, And the striped white gauze baracan that bound her, Like fleecy clouds about the moon, flowed round her.


One large gold bracelet clasped each lovely arm, Lockless—so pliable from the pure gold That the hand stretched and shut it without harm, The limb which it adorned its only mould; So beautiful—its very shape would charm, And clinging, as if loath to lose its hold, The purest ore enclosed the whitest skin That e'er by precious metal was held in.[185]


Around, as Princess of her father's land, A like gold bar above her instep rolled[186] Announced her rank; twelve rings were on her hand; Her hair was starred with gems; her veil's fine fold Below her breast was fastened with a band Of lavish pearls, whose worth could scarce be told; Her orange silk full Turkish trousers furled About the prettiest ankle in the world.


Her hair's long auburn waves down to her heel Flowed like an Alpine torrent which the sun Dyes with his morning light,—and would conceal Her person[187] if allowed at large to run, And still they seemed resentfully to feel The silken fillet's curb, and sought to shun Their bonds whene'er some Zephyr caught began To offer his young pinion as her fan.


Round her she made an atmosphere of life,[188] The very air seemed lighter from her eyes, They were so soft and beautiful, and rife With all we can imagine of the skies, And pure as Psyche ere she grew a wife— Too pure even for the purest human ties; Her overpowering presence made you feel It would not be idolatry to kneel.[189]


Her eyelashes, though dark as night, were tinged (It is the country's custom, but in vain), For those large black eyes were so blackly fringed, The glossy rebels mocked the jetty stain, And in their native beauty stood avenged: Her nails were touched with henna; but, again, The power of Art was turned to nothing, for They could not look more rosy than before.


The henna should be deeply dyed to make The skin relieved appear more fairly fair; She had no need of this, day ne'er will break On mountain tops more heavenly white than her: The eye might doubt if it were well awake, She was so like a vision; I might err, But Shakespeare also says, 't is very silly "To gild refined gold, or paint the lily."[190]


Juan had on a shawl of black and gold, But a white baracan, and so transparent The sparkling gems beneath you might behold, Like small stars through the milky way apparent; His turban, furled in many a graceful fold, An emerald aigrette, with Haidee's hair in 't, Surmounted as its clasp—a glowing crescent, Whose rays shone ever trembling, but incessant.


And now they were diverted by their suite, Dwarfs, dancing girls, black eunuchs, and a poet, Which made their new establishment complete; The last was of great fame, and liked to show it; His verses rarely wanted their due feet— And for his theme—he seldom sung below it, He being paid to satirise or flatter, As the Psalm says, "inditing a good matter."


He praised the present, and abused the past, Reversing the good custom of old days, An Eastern anti-jacobin at last He turned, preferring pudding to no praise— For some few years his lot had been o'ercast By his seeming independent in his lays, But now he sung the Sultan and the Pacha— With truth like Southey, and with verse[191] like Crashaw.[ct]


He was a man who had seen many changes, And always changed as true as any needle; His Polar Star being one which rather ranges, And not the fixed—he knew the way to wheedle: So vile he 'scaped the doom which oft avenges; And being fluent (save indeed when fee'd ill), He lied with such a fervour of intention— There was no doubt he earned his laureate pension.


But he had genius,—when a turncoat has it, The Vates irritabilis[192] takes care That without notice few full moons shall pass it; Even good men like to make the public stare:— But to my subject—let me see—what was it?— Oh!—the third canto—and the pretty pair— Their loves, and feasts, and house, and dress, and mode Of living in their insular abode.


Their poet, a sad trimmer, but, no less,[cu] In company a very pleasant fellow, Had been the favourite of full many a mess Of men, and made them speeches when half mellow;[cv] And though his meaning they could rarely guess, Yet still they deigned to hiccup or to bellow The glorious meed of popular applause, Of which the first ne'er knows the second cause.[cw]


But now being lifted into high society, And having picked up several odds and ends Of free thoughts in his travels for variety, He deemed, being in a lone isle, among friends, That, without any danger of a riot, he Might for long lying make himself amends; And, singing as he sung in his warm youth, Agree to a short armistice with Truth.


He had travelled 'mongst the Arabs, Turks, and Franks, And knew the self-loves of the different nations; And having lived with people of all ranks, Had something ready upon most occasions— Which got him a few presents and some thanks. He varied with some skill his adulations; To "do at Rome as Romans do,"[193] a piece Of conduct was which he observed in Greece.


Thus, usually, when he was asked to sing, He gave the different nations something national; 'T was all the same to him—"God save the King," Or "Ca ira," according to the fashion all: His Muse made increment of anything, From the high lyric down to the low rational;[cx][194] If Pindar sang horse-races, what should hinder Himself from being as pliable as Pindar?


In France, for instance, he would write a chanson; In England a six canto quarto tale; In Spain he'd make a ballad or romance on The last war—much the same in Portugal; In Germany, the Pegasus he'd prance on Would be old Goethe's—(see what says De Stael);[195] In Italy he'd ape the "Trecentisti;" In Greece, he'd sing some sort of hymn like this t' ye:[196]


The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece! Where burning Sappho loved and sung, Where grew the arts of War and Peace, Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung! Eternal summer gilds them yet, But all, except their Sun, is set.


The Scian and the Teian muse, The Hero's harp, the Lover's lute, Have found the fame your shores refuse: Their place of birth alone is mute To sounds which echo further west Than your Sires' "Islands of the Blest."[197]


The mountains look on Marathon—[cy] And Marathon looks on the sea; And musing there an hour alone, I dreamed that Greece might still be free; For standing on the Persians' grave, I could not deem myself a slave.


A King sate on the rocky brow Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis; And ships, by thousands, lay below, And men in nations;—all were his! He counted them at break of day— And, when the Sun set, where were they?


And where are they? and where art thou, My Country? On thy voiceless shore The heroic lay is tuneless now— The heroic bosom beats no more![cz] And must thy Lyre, so long divine, Degenerate into hands like mine?


'T is something, in the dearth of Fame, Though linked among a fettered race, To feel at least a patriot's shame, Even as I sing, suffuse my face; For what is left the poet here? For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.


Must we but weep o'er days more blest? Must we but blush?—Our fathers bled. Earth! render back from out thy breast A remnant of our Spartan dead! Of the three hundred grant but three, To make a new Thermopylae!


What, silent still? and silent all? Ah! no;—the voices of the dead Sound like a distant torrent's fall, And answer, "Let one living head, But one arise,—we come, we come!" 'T is but the living who are dumb.


In vain—in vain: strike other chords; Fill high the cup with Samian wine! Leave battles to the Turkish hordes, And shed the blood of Scio's vine! Hark! rising to the ignoble call— How answers each bold Bacchanal!


You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,[199] Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone? Of two such lessons, why forget The nobler and the manlier one? You have the letters Cadmus gave— Think ye he meant them for a slave?


Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! We will not think of themes like these! It made Anacreon's song divine: He served—but served Polycrates—[200] A Tyrant; but our masters then Were still, at least, our countrymen.


The Tyrant of the Chersonese Was Freedom's best and bravest friend; That tyrant was Miltiades! Oh! that the present hour would lend Another despot of the kind! Such chains as his were sure to bind.


Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore, Exists the remnant of a line Such as the Doric mothers bore; And there, perhaps, some seed is sown, The Heracleidan blood might own.[da]


Trust not for freedom to the Franks—[201] They have a king who buys and sells; In native swords, and native ranks, The only hope of courage dwells; But Turkish force, and Latin fraud, Would break your shield, however broad.


Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! Our virgins dance beneath the shade— I see their glorious black eyes shine; But gazing on each glowing maid, My own the burning tear-drop laves, To think such breasts must suckle slaves.


Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,[202] Where nothing, save the waves and I, May hear our mutual murmurs sweep; There, swan-like, let me sing and die: A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine— Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!


Thus sung, or would, or could, or should have sung, The modern Greek, in tolerable verse; If not like Orpheus quite, when Greece was young, Yet in these times he might have done much worse: His strain displayed some feeling—right or wrong; And feeling,[203] in a poet, is the source Of others' feeling; but they are such liars, And take all colours—like the hands of dyers.


But words are things,[204] and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think; 'T is strange, the shortest letter which man uses Instead of speech, may form a lasting link Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces Frail man, when paper—even a rag like this, Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his!


And when his bones are dust, his grave a blank, His station, generation, even his nation, Become a thing, or nothing, save to rank In chronological commemoration, Some dull MS. Oblivion long has sank, Or graven stone found in a barrack's station In digging the foundation of a closet,[db] May turn his name up, as a rare deposit.


And Glory long has made the sages smile; 'T is something, nothing, words, illusion, wind— Depending more upon the historian's style Than on the name a person leaves behind: Troy owes to Homer what whist owes to Hoyle:[205] The present century was growing blind To the great Marlborough's skill in giving knocks, Until his late Life by Archdeacon Coxe.[206]


Milton's the Prince of poets—so we say; A little heavy, but no less divine: An independent being in his day— Learned, pious, temperate in love and wine; But, his life falling into Johnson's way, We're told this great High Priest of all the Nine Was whipped at college—a harsh sire—odd spouse, For the first Mrs. Milton left his house.[207]


All these are, certes, entertaining facts, Like Shakespeare's stealing deer, Lord Bacon's bribes; Like Titus' youth, and Caesar's earliest acts;[208] Like Burns (whom Doctor Currie well describes);[209] Like Cromwell's pranks;[210]—but although Truth exacts These amiable descriptions from the scribes, As most essential to their Hero's story, They do not much contribute to his glory.


All are not moralists, like Southey, when He prated to the world of "Pantisocracy;"[211] Or Wordsworth unexcised,[212] unhired, who then Seasoned his pedlar poems with Democracy;[dc] Or Coleridge[213] long before his flighty pen Let to the Morning Post its aristocracy;[dd] When he and Southey, following the same path, Espoused two partners (milliners of Bath).[214]


Such names at present cut a convict figure, The very Botany Bay in moral geography; Their loyal treason, renegado rigour, Are good manure for their more bare biography; Wordsworth's last quarto, by the way, is bigger Than any since the birthday of typography; A drowsy, frowzy poem, called the "Excursion," Writ in a manner which is my aversion.


He there builds up a formidable dyke Between his own and others' intellect; But Wordsworth's poem, and his followers, like Joanna Southcote's Shiloh[215] and her sect, Are things which in this century don't strike The public mind,—so few are the elect; And the new births of both their stale Virginities Have proved but Dropsies, taken for Divinities.


But let me to my story: I must own, If I have any fault, it is digression, Leaving my people to proceed alone, While I soliloquize beyond expression: But these are my addresses from the throne, Which put off business to the ensuing session: Forgetting each omission is a loss to The world, not quite so great as Ariosto.


I know that what our neighbours call "longueurs," (We've not so good a word, but have the thing, In that complete perfection which insures An epic from Bob Southey every spring—) Form not the true temptation which allures The reader; but 't would not be hard to bring Some fine examples of the Epopee, To prove its grand ingredient is Ennui.[216]


We learn from Horace, "Homer sometimes sleeps;"[217] We feel without him,—Wordsworth sometimes wakes,— To show with what complacency he creeps, With his dear "Waggoners," around his lakes.[218] He wishes for "a boat" to sail the deeps— Of Ocean?—No, of air; and then he makes Another outcry for "a little boat," And drivels seas to set it well afloat.[219]


If he must fain sweep o'er the ethereal plain, And Pegasus runs restive in his "Waggon," Could he not beg the loan of Charles's Wain? Or pray Medea for a single dragon?[220] Or if, too classic for his vulgar brain, He feared his neck to venture such a nag on, And he must needs mount nearer to the moon, Could not the blockhead ask for a balloon?


"Pedlars," and "Boats," and "Waggons!" Oh! ye shades Of Pope and Dryden, are we come to this? That trash of such sort not alone evades Contempt, but from the bathos' vast abyss Floats scumlike uppermost, and these Jack Cades Of sense and song above your graves may hiss— The "little boatman" and his Peter Bell Can sneer at him who drew "Achitophel!"[221]


T' our tale.—The feast was over, the slaves gone, The dwarfs and dancing girls had all retired; The Arab lore and Poet's song were done, And every sound of revelry expired; The lady and her lover, left alone, The rosy flood of Twilight's sky admired;— Ave Maria! o'er the earth and sea, That heavenliest hour of Heaven is worthiest thee!


Ave Maria! blessed be the hour! The time, the clime, the spot, where I so oft Have felt that moment in its fullest power Sink o'er the earth—so beautiful and soft— While swung the deep bell in the distant tower,[de] Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft, And not a breath crept through the rosy air, And yet the forest leaves seemed stirred with prayer.


Ave Maria! 't is the hour of prayer! Ave Maria! 't is the hour of Love! Ave Maria! may our spirits dare Look up to thine and to thy Son's above! Ave Maria! oh that face so fair! Those downcast eyes beneath the Almighty Dove— What though 't is but a pictured image?—strike— That painting is no idol,—'t is too like.


Some kinder casuists are pleased to say, In nameless print[df]—that I have no devotion; But set those persons down with me to pray, And you shall see who has the properest notion Of getting into Heaven the shortest way; My altars are the mountains and the Ocean, Earth—air—stars,[222]—all that springs from the great Whole, Who hath produced, and will receive the Soul.


Sweet Hour of Twilight!—in the solitude Of the pine forest, and the silent shore Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood, Rooted where once the Adrian wave flowed o'er, To where the last Caesarean fortress stood,[223] Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me, How have I loved the twilight hour and thee![224]


The shrill cicalas, people of the pine, Making their summer lives one ceaseless song, Were the sole echoes, save my steed's and mine, And Vesper bell's that rose the boughs along; The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line, His hell-dogs, and their chase, and the fair throng Which learned from this example not to fly From a true lover,—shadowed my mind's eye.[225]


Oh, Hesperus! thou bringest all good things—[226] Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer, To the young bird the parent's brooding wings, The welcome stall to the o'erlaboured steer; Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings, Whate'er our household gods protect of dear, Are gathered round us by thy look of rest; Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast.


Soft Hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart Of those who sail the seas, on the first day When they from their sweet friends are torn apart; Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way As the far bell of Vesper makes him start, Seeming to weep the dying day's decay;[227] Is this a fancy which our reason scorns? Ah! surely Nothing dies but Something mourns!


When Nero perished by the justest doom Which ever the Destroyer yet destroyed, Amidst the roar of liberated Rome, Of nations freed, and the world overjoyed, Some hands unseen strewed flowers upon his tomb:[228] Perhaps the weakness of a heart not void Of feeling for some kindness done, when Power Had left the wretch an uncorrupted hour.


But I'm digressing; what on earth has Nero, Or any such like sovereign buffoons,[dg] To do with the transactions of my hero, More than such madmen's fellow man—the moon's? Sure my invention must be down at zero, And I grown one of many "Wooden Spoons" Of verse, (the name with which we Cantabs please To dub the last of honours in degrees).


I feel this tediousness will never do— T' is being too epic, and I must cut down (In copying) this long canto into two; They'll never find it out, unless I own The fact, excepting some experienced few; And then as an improvement 't will be shown: I'll prove that such the opinion of the critic is From Aristotle passim.—See [Greek: POIAETIKAES].[229]


[169] [November 30, 1819. Copied in 1820 (MS.D.). Moore (Life, 421) says that Byron was at work on the third canto when he stayed with him at Venice, in October, 1819. "One day, before dinner, [he] read me two or three hundred lines of it; beginning with the stanzas "Oh Wellington," etc., which, at the time, formed the opening of the third canto, but were afterwards reserved for the commencement of the ninth." The third canto, as it now stands, was completed by November 8, 1819; see Letters, 1900, iv. 375. The date on the MS. may refer to the first fair copy.]

{144}[ch] And fits her like a stocking or a glove.—[MS. D.]

[170] ["On peut trouver des femmes qui n'ont jamais eu de galanterie, mais il est rare d'en trouver qui n'en aient jamais eu qu'une."—Reflexions ... du Duc de la Rochefoucauld, No. lxxiii.

Byron prefixed the maxim as a motto to his "Ode to a Lady whose Lover was killed by a Ball, which at the same time shivered a Portrait next his Heart."—Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 552.]

{145}[171] [Merchant of Venice, act iv. sc. 1, line 254.]

[ci] Had Petrarch's passion led to Petrarch's wedding, How many sonnets had ensued the bedding?—[MS.]

[172] [The Ballad of "Death and the Lady" was printed in a small volume, entitled A Guide to Heaven, 1736, 12mo. It is mentioned in The Vicar of Wakefield (chap. xvii.), Works of Oliver Goldsmith, 1854, i. 369. See Old English Popular Music, by William Chappell, F.S.A., 1893, ii. 170, 171.]

{146}[173] [See The Prophecy of Dante, Canto I. lines 172-174, Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 253, note 1.]

[174] Milton's first wife ran away from him within the first month. If she had not, what would John Milton have done?

[Mary Powell did not "run away," but at the end of the honeymoon obtained her husband's consent to visit her family at Shotover, "upon a promise of returning at Michaelmas." "And in the mean while his studies went on very vigorously; and his chief diversion, after the business of the day, was now and then in an evening to visit the Lady Margaret Lee.... This lady, being a woman of excellent wit and understanding, had a particular honour for our author, and took great delight in his conversation; as likewise did her husband, Captain Hobson." See, too, his sonnet "To the Lady Margaret Ley."—The Life of Milton (by Thomas Newton, D.D.), Paradise Regained, ed. (Baskerville), 1758, pp. xvii., xviii.]

[175] ["Yesterday a very pretty letter from Annabella.... She is a poetess—a mathematician—a metaphysician."—Journal November 30, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 357.]

{147}[cj] Displayed much more of nerve, perhaps, of wit, Than any of the parodies of Pitt.—[MS.]

{148}[ck] —— toothpicks, a bidet.—[MS. Alternative reading.]

"Dr. Murray—As you are squeamish you may put 'teapot, tray,' in case the other piece of feminine furniture frightens you.—B."

[176] [For Byron's menagerie, see Werner, act i. sc. 1, line 216, Poetical Works, 1902, v. 348, note 1.]

{149}[177] ["But as for canine recollections ... I had one (half a wolf by the she-side) that doted on me at ten years old, and very nearly ate me at twenty. When I thought he was going to enact Argus, he bit away the backside of my breeches, and never would consent to any kind of recognition, in despite of all kinds of bones which I offered him."—Letter to Moore, January 19, 1815, Letters, 1899, iii. 171, 172. Compare, too, Childe Harold, Canto I. Song, stanza ix., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 30.]

{150}[cl] Yet for all that don't stay away too long, A sofa, like a bed, may come by wrong.—[MS.] I've known the friend betrayed——.—[MS. D.]

{151}[178] [The Pyrrhic war-dance represented "by rapid movements of the body, the way in which missiles and blows from weapons were avoided, and also the mode in which the enemy was attacked" (Dict. of Ant.). Dodwell (Tour through Greece, 1819, ii. 21, 22) observes that in Thessaly and Macedon dances are performed at the present day by men armed with their musket and sword. See, too, Hobhouse's description (Travels in Albania, 1858, i. 166, 167) of the Albanian war-dance at Loutraki.]

[179] ["Their manner of dancing is certainly the same that Diana is sung to have danced on the banks of Eurotas. The great lady still leads the dance, and is followed by a troop of young girls, who imitate her steps, and, if she sings, make up the chorus. The tunes are extremely gay and lively, yet with something in them wonderfully soft. The steps are varied according to the pleasure of her that leads the dance, but always in exact time, and infinitely more agreeable than any of our dances."—Lady M.W. Montagu to Pope, April 1, O.S., 1817, Letters, etc., 1816, p. 138. The "kerchief-waving" dance is the Romaika. See The Waltz, line 125, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 492, note 1. See, too, Voyage Pittoresque ... by the Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier, 1782, vol. i. Planche 33.]

[cm] That would have set Tom Moore, though married, raving.—[MS.]

{152}[180] ["Upon the whole, I think the part of Don Juan in which Lambro's return to his home, and Lambro himself are described, is the best, that is, the most individual, thing in all I know of Lord B.'s works. The festal abandonment puts one in mind of Nicholas Poussin's pictures."—Table Talk of S.T. Coleridge, June 7, 1824.]

{153}[181] [Compare Hudibras, Part I. canto iii. lines 1, 2—

"Ay me! what perils do environ The man that meddles with cold iron!"

Byron's friend, C.S. Matthews, shouted these lines, con intenzione, under the windows of a Cambridge tradesman named Hiron, who had been instrumental in the expulsion from the University of Sir Henry Smyth, a riotous undergraduate. (See letter to Murray, October 19, 1820.)]

{154}[cn] All had been open, heart, and open house, Ever since Juan served her for a spouse.—[MS.]


["Rispose allor Margutte: a dirtel tosto, Io non credo piu al nero ch' all' azzurro; Ma nel cappone, o lesso, o vuogli arrosto, E credo alcuna volta anche nel burro; Nella cervogia, e quando io n' ho nel mosto, E molto piu nell' aspro che il mangurro; Ma sopra tutto nel buon vino ho fede, E credo che sia salvo chi gli crede."

Pulci, Morgante Maggiore, Canto XVIII. stanza cxv.]

{157}[co] For instance, if a first or second wife.—[MS.]

{159}[cp] And send him forth like Samson strong in blindness.—[MS. D.] And make him Samson-like—more fierce with blindness.—[MS. M.]

[cq] Not so the single, deep, and wordless ire, Of a strong human heart—.—[MS.]

{160}[183] ["Almost all Don Juan is real life, either my own, or from people I knew. By the way, much of the description of the furniture, in Canto Third, is taken from Tully's Tripoli (pray note this), and the rest from my own observation. Remember, I never meant to conceal this at all, and have only not stated it, because Don Juan had no preface, nor name to it."—Letter to Murray, August 23, 1821, Letters, 1901, v. 346.

The first edition of "Tully's Tripoli" is entitled Narrative of a Ten Years' Residence in Tripoli In Africa: From the original correspondence in the possession of the Family of the late Richard Tully, Esq., the British Consul, 1816, 410. The book is in the form of letters (so says the Preface) written by the Consul's sister. The description of Haidee's dress is taken from the account of a visit to Lilla Kebbiera, the wife of the Bashaw (p. 30); the description of the furniture and refreshments from the account of a visit to "Lilla Amnani," Hadgi Abderrahmam's Greek wife (pp. 132-137). It is evident that the "Chiel" who took these "notes" was the Consul's sister, not the Consul: "Lilla Aisha, the Bey's wife, is thought to be very sensible, though rather haughty. Her apartments were grand, and herself superbly habited. Her chemise was covered with gold embroidery at the neck; over it she wore a gold and silver tissue jileck, or jacket without sleeves, and over that another of purple velvet richly laced with gold, with coral and pearl buttons set quite close together down the front; it had short sleeves finished with a gold band not far below the shoulder, and discovered a wide loose chemise of transparent gauze, with gold, silver, and ribband strips. She wore round her ancles ... a sort of fetter made of a thick bar of gold so fine that they bound it round the leg with one hand; it is an inch and a half wide, and as much in thickness: each of these weighs four pounds. Just above this a band three inches wide of gold thread finished the ends of a pair of trousers made of pale yellow and white silk."

Page 132. "[Lilla] rose to take coffee, which was served in very small china cups, placed in silver filigree cups; and gold filigree cups were put under those presented to the married ladies. They had introduced cloves, cinnamon, and saffron into the coffee, which was abundantly sweetened; but this mixture was very soon changed, and replaced by excellent simple coffee for the European ladies...."

Page 133. "The Greek then shewed us the gala furniture of her own room.... The hangings of the room were of tapestry, made in pannels of different coloured velvets, thickly inlaid with flowers of silk damask; a yellow border, of about a foot in depth, finished the tapestry at top and bottom, the upper border being embroidered with Moorish sentences from the Koran in lilac letters. The carpet was of crimson satin, with a deep border of pale blue quilted; this is laid over Indian mats and other carpets. In the best part of the room the sofa is placed, which occupies three sides in an alcove, the floor of which is raised. The sofa and the cushions that lay around were of crimson velvet, the centre cushions were embroidered with a sun in gold of highly embossed work, the rest were of gold and silver tissue. The curtains of the alcove were made to match those before the bed. A number of looking-glasses, and a profusion of fine china and chrystal completed the ornaments and furniture of the room, in which were neither tables nor chairs. A small table, about six inches high, is brought in when refreshments are served; it is of ebony, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, ivory, gold and silver, of choice woods, or of plain mahogany, according to the circumstances of the proprietor."

Page 136. "On the tables were placed all sorts of refreshments, and thirty or forty dishes of meat and poultry, dressed different ways; there were no knives nor forks, and only a few spoons of gold, silver, ivory, or coral...."

Page 137. "The beverage was various sherbets, some composed of the juice of boiled raisins, very sweet; some of the juice of pomegranates squeezed through the rind; and others of the pure juice of oranges. These sherbets were copiously supplied in high glass ewers, placed in great numbers on the ground.... After the dishes of meat were removed, a dessert of Arabian fruits, confectionaries, and sweetmeats was served; among the latter was the date-bread. This sweetmeat is made in perfection only by the blacks at Fezzan, of the ripe date of the country.... They make it in the shape of loaves, weighing from twenty to thirty pounds; the stones of the fruit are taken out, and the dates simply pressed together with great weights; thus preserved, it keeps perfectly good for a year."]

{162}[184] ["He writes like a man who has that clear perception of the truth of things which is the result of the guilty knowledge of good and evil; and who, by the light of that knowledge, has deliberately preferred the evil with a proud malignity of purpose, which would seem to leave little for the last consummating change to accomplish. When he calculates that the reader is on the verge of pitying him, he takes care to throw him back the defiance of laughter, as if to let him know that all the Poet's pathos is but the sentimentalism of the drunkard between his cups, or the relenting softness of the courtesan, who the next moment resumes the bad boldness of her degraded character. With such a man, who would wish either to laugh or to weep?"—Eclectic Review (Lord Byron's Mazeppa), August, 1819, vol. xii. p. 150.]

[cr] For that's the name they like to cant beneath.—[MS.]

{163}[cs] The upholsterer's "fiat lux" had bade to issue.—[MS.]

{164}[185] This dress is Moorish, and the bracelets and bar are worn in the manner described. The reader will perceive hereafter, that as the mother of Haidee was of Fez, her daughter wore the garb of the country. [Vide ante, p. 160, note 1.]

[186] The bar of gold above the instep is a mark of sovereign rank in the women of the families of the Deys, and is worn as such by their female relatives. [Vide ibid.]

[187] This is no exaggeration: there were four women whom I remember to have seen, who possessed their hair in this profusion; of these, three were English, the other was a Levantine. Their hair was of that length and quantity, that, when let down, it almost entirely shaded the person, so as nearly to render dress a superfluity. Of these, only one had dark hair; the Oriental's had, perhaps, the lightest colour of the four.

[188] [Compare—

"Yet there was round thee such a dawn Of Light ne'er seen before, As Fancy never could have drawn, And never can restore."

Song by Rev. C. Wolfe (1791-1823).

Compare, too—

"She was a form of Life and Light That, seen, became a part of sight."

The Giaour, lines 1127, 1128.]


[" ... but Psyche owns no lord— She walks a goddess from above; All saw, all praised her, all adored, But no one ever dared to love."

The Golden Ass of Apuleius; in English verse, entitled Cupid and Psyche, by Hudson Gurney, 1799.]

[190] [King John, act iv. sc. 2, line 11.]

{166}[191] ["Richard Crashaw (died 1650), the friend of Cowley, was honoured," says Warton, "with the praise of Pope; who both read his poems and borrowed from them. After he was ejected from his Fellowship at Peterhouse for denying the covenant, he turned Roman Catholic, and died canon of the church at Loretto." Cowley sang his In Memoriam

"Angels (they say) brought the famed Chappel there; And bore the sacred Load in Triumph through the air:— 'T is surer much they brought thee there, and They, And Thou, their charge, went singing all the way."

The Works, etc., 1668, pp. 29, 30.]

[ct] Believed like Southey—and perused like Crashaw.—[MS.]

{167}[192] [The second chapter of Coleridge's Biographia Literaria is on the "supposed irritability of men of genius." Ed. 1847, i. 29.]

[cu] Their poet a sad Southey.—[MS. D.]

[cv] Of rogues—.—[MS. D.]

[cw] Of which the causers never know the cause.—[MS. D.]

{168}[193] [Vide St. August. Epist., xxxvi., cap. xiv., "Ille [Ambrosius, Mediolanensis Episcopus] adjecit; Quando hic sum, non jejuno sabbato; quando Romae sum, jejuno sabbato."—Migne's Patrologiae Cursus, 1845, xxxiii. 151.]

[cx] From the high lyrical to the low rational.—[MS.D.]

[194] [The allusion is to Coleridge's eulogy of Southey in the Biographia Literaria (ed. 1847, i. 61): "In poetry he has attempted almost every species of composition known before, and he has added new ones; and if we except the very highest lyric ... he has attempted every species successfully." But the satire, primarily and ostensibly aimed at Southey, now and again glances at Southey's eulogist.]

[195] ["Goethe pourroit representer la litterature allemande toute entiere."—De L'Allemagne, par Mme. la Baronne de Stael-Holstein, 1818, i. 227.]

[196] [The poet is not "a sad Southey," but is sketched from memory. "Lord Byron," writes Finlay (History of Greece, vi. 335, note), "used to describe an evening passed in the company of Londos [a Morean landowner, who took part in the first and second Greek Civil Wars], at Vostitza (in 1809), when both were young men, with a spirit that rendered the scene worthy of a place in Don Juan. After supper Londos, who had the face and figure of a chimpanzee, sprang upon a table, ... and commenced singing through his nose Rhiga's Hymn to Liberty. A new cadi, passing near the house, inquired the cause of the discordant hubbub. A native Mussulman replied, 'It is only the young primate Londos, who is drunk, and is singing hymns to the new panaghia of the Greeks, whom they call Eleutheria.'" (See letter to Andreas Londos (undated), Letters, 1901, vi. 320, note 1.)]

{169}[197] The [Greek: Maka/ron nesoi] [Hesiod, Works and Days, line 169] of the Greek poets were supposed to have been the Cape de Verd Islands, or the Canaries.

[cy] Euboea looks on Marathon, And Marathon looks on the sea, etc.—[MS.]

[198] [See AEschylus, Persae, 463, sq.; and Herodotus, viii. 90. Harpocration records the preservation, in the Acropolis, of the silver-footed throne on which Xerxes sat when he watched the battle of Salamis from the slope of Mount AEgaleos.]

{170}[cz] The Heroic heart awakes no more.—[MS. D.]

{171}[199] [For "that most ancient military dance, the Pyrrhica," see Travels, by E.D. Clarke, 1814, part ii. sect. 11, p. 641; and for specimens of "Cadmean characters," vide ibid., p. 593.]

[200] [After his birthplace Teos was taken by the Persians, B.C. 510, Anacreon migrated to Abdera, but afterwards lived at Samos, under the protection of Polycrates.]

[da] Which Hercules might deem his own.—[MS.]

{172}[201] [See the translation of a speech delivered to the Pargiots, in 1815, by an aged citizen: "I exhort you well to consider, before you yield yourselves up to the English, that the King of England now has in his pay all the kings of Europe—obtaining money for this purpose from his merchants; whence, should it become advantageous to the merchants to sell you, in order to conciliate Ali, and obtain certain commercial advantages in his harbours, the English will sell you to Ali." —"Parga," Edinburgh Review, October, 1819. vol. 32, pp. 263-293. Here, perhaps, the "Franks" are the Russians. Compare—

"Greeks only should free Greece, Not the barbarian with his masque of peace."

The Age of Bronze, lines 298, 299, Poetical Works, 1901, v. 557, note 1.]


[Greek: Genoi/man, i(/n' y(laen e)/pesti po/n-] [Greek: tou pro/blem' a(likyston, a)/-] [Greek: kran y(po pla/ka Souni/ou, k.t.l.]

Sophocles, Ajax, lines 1190-1192.]

{173}[203] [Compare—

"What poets feel not, when they make, A pleasure in creating, The world, in its turn, will not take Pleasure in contemplating."

Matthew Arnold (Motto to Poems, 1869, vol. i. Fly-leaf).]

[204] [For this "sentence," see Journal, November 16, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 320, note 1; see, too, letter to Rogers, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 89, note 1.]

[db] In digging drains for a new water-closet.—[MS.]

[205] [For Edmund Hoyle (1672-1769), see English Bards, etc., lines 966-968, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 372, note 4.]

{174}[206] [William Coxe (1747-1828), Archdeacon of Wilts, a voluminous historian and biographer, published Memoirs of John, Duke of Marlborough, in 1817-1819.]

[207] [See Life of Milton, Works of Samuel Johnson, 1825, vii. pp. 67, 68, 80, et vide ante, p. 146, note 2.]

[208] [According to Suetonius, the youthful Titus amused himself by copying handwriting, and boasted that he could have made a first-rate falsarius. One of Caesar's "earliest acts" was to crucify some jovial pirates, who had kidnapped him, and with whom he pretended to be on pleasant if not friendly terms.]

[209] [James Currie, M.D. (1756-1805), published, anonymously, the Works of Robert Burns, with an account of his Life, etc., in 1800.]

[210] ["He [Cromwell] was very notorious for robbing orchards, a puerile crime ... but grown so scandalous and injurious by the frequent spoyls and damages of Trees, breaking of Hedges, and Inclosures, committed by this Apple-Dragon, that many solemn complaints were made both to his Father and Mother for redresse thereof; which missed not their satisfaction and expiation out of his hide," etc.—Flagellum, by James Heath, 1663, p. 5. See, too, for his "name of a Royster" at Cambridge, A Short View of the Late Troubles in England, by Sir William Dugdale, 1681, p. 459.]

{175}[211] [In The Friend, 1818, ii. 38, Coleridge refers to "a plan ... of trying the experiment of human perfectibility on the banks of the Susquehanna;" and Southey, in his Letter to William Smith, Esq. (1817), (Essays Moral and Political, by Robert Southey, 1832, ii. 17), speaks of his "purpose to retire with a few friends into the wilds of America, and there lay the foundations of a community," etc.; but the word "Pantisocracy" is not mentioned. It occurs, perhaps, for the first time in print, in George Dyer's biographical sketch of Southey, which he contributed to Public Characters of 1799-1800, p. 225, "Coleridge, no less than Southey, possessed a strong passion for poetry. They commenced, like two young poets, an enthusiastic friendship, and in connection with others, struck out a plan for settling in America, and for having all things in common. This scheme they called Pantisocracy." Hence, the phrase must have "caught on," for, in a footnote to his review of Coleridge's Literary Life (Edin. Rev., August, 1817, vol. xxviii. p. 501), Jeffrey speaks of "the Pantisocratic or Lake School."]

[212] [Wordsworth was "hired," but not, like Burns, "excised." Hazlitt (Lectures on the English Poets, 1870, p. 174) is responsible for the epithet: "Mr. Wordsworth might have shown the incompatibility between the Muse and the Excise," etc.]

[dc] Confined his pedlar poems to democracy.—[MS.]

[213] [Coleridge began his poetical contributions to the Morning Post in January, 1798; his poetical articles in 1800.]

[dd] Flourished its sophistry for aristocracy.—[MS.]

[214] [Coleridge was married to Sarah Fricker, October 5; Southey to her younger sister Edith, November 15, 1795. Their father, Stephen Fricker, who had been an innkeeper, and afterwards a potter at Bristol, migrated to Bath about the year 1780. For the last six years of his life he was owner and manager of a coal wharf. He had inherited a small fortune, and his wife brought him money, but he died bankrupt, and left his family destitute. His widow returned to Bristol, and kept a school. In a letter to Murray, dated September 11, 1822 (Letters, 1901, vi. 113), Byron quotes the authority of "Luttrell," and "his friend Mr. Nugent," for the statement that Mrs. Southey and "Coleridge's Sara ... before they were married ... were milliner's or dressmaker's apprentices." The story rests upon their evidence. It is certain that in 1794, when Coleridge appeared upon the scene, the sisters earned their living by going out to work in the houses of friends, and were not, at that time, "milliners of Bath."]

{176}[215] [For Joanna Southcott (1750-1814), see Letters, 1899, iii. 128-130, note 2.]

[216] [Here follows, in the original MS.—

"Time has approved Ennui to be the best Of friends, and opiate draughts; your love and wine, Which shake so much the human brain and breast, Must end in languor;—men must sleep like swine: The happy lover and the welcome guest Both sink at last into a swoon divine; Full of deep raptures and of bumpers, they Are somewhat sick and sorry the next day."]

{177}[217] ["Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus."—Hor., Epist. Ad Pisones, line 359.]

[218] [Wordsworth's Benjamin the Waggoner, was written in 1805, but was not published till 1819. "Benjamin" was servant to William Jackson, a Keswick carrier, who built Greta Hall, and let off part of the house to Coleridge.]


["There's something in a flying horse, There's something in a huge balloon; But through the clouds I'll never float Until I have a little Boat, Shaped like the crescent-moon."

Wordsworth's Peter Bell, stanza i.]

[220] [For Medea's escape from the wrath of Jason, "Titaniacis ablata draconibus," see Ovid., Met., vii. 398.]

[221] [In his "Essay, Supplementary to the Preface," to his "Poems" of 1815, Wordsworth, commenting on a passage on Night in Dryden's Indian Emperor, says, "Dryden's lines are vague, bombastic, and senseless.... The verses of Dryden once celebrated are forgotten." He is not passing any general criticism on "him who drew Achitophel." In a letter to Sir Walter Scott (November 7, 1805), then engaged on his great edition of Dryden's Works, he admits that Dryden is not "as a poet any great favourite of mine. I admire his talents and genius highly, but he is not a poetical genius. The only qualities I can find in Dryden that are essentially poetical, are a certain ardour and impetuosity of mind, with an excellent ear" (Life of Wordsworth, by W. Knight, 1889, ii. 26-29). Scott may have remarked on Wordsworth's estimate of Dryden in conversation with Byron.]

{178}[de] While swung the signal from the sacred tower.—[MS.]

{179}[df] Are not these pretty stanzas?—some folks say— Downright in print—.—[MS.]

[222] [Compare Coleridge's Lines to Nature, which were published in the Morning Herald, in 1815, but must have been unknown to Byron—

"So will I build my altar in the fields, And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be."]

[223] ["As early as the fifth or sixth century of the Christian era, the port of Augustus was converted into pleasant orchards, and a lovely grove of pines covered the ground where the Roman fleet once rode at anchor.... This advantageous situation was fortified by art and labour, and in the twentieth year of his age, the Emperor of the West ... retired to ... the walls and morasses of Ravenna."—Gibbon's Decline and Fall, 1825, ii. 244, 245.]

[224] ["The first time I had a conversation with Lord Byron on the subject of religion was at Ravenna, my native country, in 1820, while we were riding on horseback in an extensive solitary wood of pines. The scene invited to religious meditation. It was a fine day in spring. 'How,' he said, 'raising our eyes to heaven, or directing them to the earth, can we doubt of the existence of God?—or how, turning them to what is within us, can we doubt that there is something more noble and durable than the clay of which we are formed?'"—Count Gamba.]

{180}[225] [If the Pineta of Ravenna, bois funebre, invited Byron "to religious meditation," the mental picture of the "spectre huntsman" pursuing his eternal vengeance on "the inexorable dame"—"that fatal she," who had mocked his woes—must have set in motion another train of thought. Such lines as these would "speak comfortably" to him—

"Because she deem'd I well deserved to die, And made a merit of her cruelty, ... Mine is the ungrateful maid by heaven design'd: Mercy she would not give, nor mercy shall she find."

"By her example warn'd, the rest beware; More easy, less imperious, were the fair; And that one hunting, which the Devil design'd For one fair female, lost him half the kind."

Dryden's Theodore and Honoria (sub fine).]


[Greek: Espere panta phereis] [Greek: Phereis oinon—phereis aiga,] [Greek: Phereis materi paida.]

Fragment of Sappho.

[Greek: We/spere, pa/nta phe/ron, o(/sa phai/nolis e)ske/das' au)/os] [Greek: Phe/reis oi)/n phe/reis ai~)ga, Phe/reis a)/py mate/ri pai~da.]

Sappho, Memoir, Text, by Henry Thornton Wharton, 1895, p. 136.

"Evening, all things thou bringest Which dawn spread apart from each other; The lamb and the kid thou bringest, Thou bringest the boy to his mother."

J.A. Symonds.

Compare Tennyson's Locksley Hall, Sixty Years After—"Hesper, whom the poet call'd the Bringer home of all good things."]


"Era gia l'ora che volge il disio Ai naviganti, e intenerisce il cuore; Lo di ch' han detto ai dolci amici addio; E che lo nuovo peregrin' damore Punge, se ode squilla di lontano, Che paia il giorno pianger che si more."

Dante's Purgatory, canto viii., lines 1-6.

This last line is the first of Gray's Elegy, taken by him without acknowledgment.

[228] See Suetonius for this fact.

["The public joy was so great upon the occasion of his death, that the common people ran up and down with caps upon their heads. And yet there were some, who for a long time trimmed up his tomb with spring and summer flowers, and, one while, placed his image upon his rostra dressed up in state robes, another while published proclamations in his name, as if he was yet alive, and would shortly come to Rome again, with a vengeance to all his enemies."—De XII. Caes., lib. vi. cap. lvii.]

[dg] But I'm digressing—what on earth have Nero And Wordsworth—both poetical buffoons, etc.—[MS.]

{182}[229] [See De Poetica, cap. xxiv. See, too, the Preface to Dryden's "Dedication" of the AEneis (Works of John Dryden, 1821, xiv. 130-134). Dryden is said to have derived his knowledge of Aristotle from Dacier's translation, and it is probable that Byron derived his from Dryden. See letter to Hodgson (Letters, 1891, v. 284), in which he quotes Aristotle as quoted in Johnson's Life of Dryden.]



NOTHING so difficult as a beginning In poesy, unless perhaps the end; For oftentimes when Pegasus seems winning The race, he sprains a wing, and down we tend, Like Lucifer when hurled from Heaven for sinning; Our sin the same, and hard as his to mend, Being Pride,[230] which leads the mind to soar too far, Till our own weakness shows us what we are.


But Time, which brings all beings to their level, And sharp Adversity, will teach at last Man,—and, as we would hope,—perhaps the Devil, That neither of their intellects are vast: While Youth's hot wishes in our red veins revel, We know not this—the blood flows on too fast; But as the torrent widens towards the Ocean, We ponder deeply on each past emotion.[231]


As boy, I thought myself a clever fellow, And wished that others held the same opinion; They took it up when my days grew more mellow, And other minds acknowledged my dominion: Now my sere Fancy "falls into the yellow Leaf,"[232] and Imagination droops her pinion, And the sad truth which hovers o'er my desk Turns what was once romantic to burlesque.


And if I laugh at any mortal thing, 'T is that I may not weep; and if I weep, 'T is that our nature cannot always bring Itself to apathy, for we must steep[dh] Our hearts first in the depths of Lethe's spring,[di] Ere what we least wish to behold will sleep: Thetis baptized her mortal son in Styx; A mortal mother would on Lethe fix.


Some have accused me of a strange design Against the creed and morals of the land, And trace it in this poem every line: I don't pretend that I quite understand My own meaning when I would be very fine; But the fact is that I have nothing planned, Unless it were to be a moment merry— A novel word in my vocabulary.


To the kind reader of our sober clime This way of writing will appear exotic; Pulci[233] was sire of the half-serious rhyme,[dj] Who sang when Chivalry was more quixotic, And revelled in the fancies of the time, True Knights, chaste Dames, huge Giants, Kings despotic; But all these, save the last, being obsolete, I chose a modern subject as more meet.


How I have treated it, I do not know; Perhaps no better than they have treated me, Who have imputed such designs as show Not what they saw, but what they wished to see: But if it gives them pleasure, be it so; This is a liberal age, and thoughts are free: Meantime Apollo plucks me by the ear, And tells me to resume my story here.[234]


Young Juan and his lady-love were left To their own hearts' most sweet society; Even Time the pitiless in sorrow cleft With his rude scythe such gentle bosoms; he Sighed to behold them of their hours bereft, Though foe to Love; and yet they could not be Meant to grow old, but die in happy Spring, Before one charm or hope had taken wing.


Their faces were not made for wrinkles, their Pure blood to stagnate, their great hearts to fail; The blank grey was not made to blast their hair, But like the climes that know nor snow nor hail, They were all summer; lightning might assail And shiver them to ashes, but to trail A long and snake-like life of dull decay Was not for them—they had too little clay.


They were alone once more; for them to be Thus was another Eden; they were never Weary, unless when separate: the tree Cut from its forest root of years—the river Dammed from its fountain—the child from the knee And breast maternal weaned at once for ever,— Would wither less than these two torn apart;[dk] Alas! there is no instinct like the Heart—


The Heart—which may be broken: happy they! Thrice fortunate! who of that fragile mould, The precious porcelain of human clay, Break with the first fall: they can ne'er behold The long year linked with heavy day on day, And all which must be borne, and never told; While Life's strange principle will often lie Deepest in those who long the most to die.


"Whom the gods love die young," was said of yore,[235] And many deaths do they escape by this: The death of friends, and that which slays even more— The death of Friendship, Love, Youth, all that is, Except mere breath; and since the silent shore Awaits at last even those who longest miss The old Archer's shafts, perhaps the early grave[236] Which men weep over may be meant to save.


Haidee and Juan thought not of the dead— The Heavens, and Earth, and Air, seemed made for them: They found no fault with Time, save that he fled; They saw not in themselves aught to condemn: Each was the other's mirror, and but read Joy sparkling in their dark eyes like a gem. And knew such brightness was but the reflection Of their exchanging glances of affection.


The gentle pressure, and the thrilling touch, The least glance better understood than words, Which still said all, and ne'er could say too much; A language,[237] too, but like to that of birds, Known but to them, at least appearing such As but to lovers a true sense affords; Sweet playful phrases, which would seem absurd To those who have ceased to hear such, or ne'er heard—


All these were theirs, for they were children still, And children still they should have ever been; They were not made in the real world to fill A busy character in the dull scene, But like two beings born from out a rill, A Nymph and her beloved, all unseen To pass their lives in fountains and on flowers, And never know the weight of human hours.


Moons changing had rolled on, and changeless found Those their bright rise had lighted to such joys As rarely they beheld throughout their round; And these were not of the vain kind which cloys, For theirs were buoyant spirits, never bound By the mere senses; and that which destroys[dl] Most love—possession—unto them appeared A thing which each endearment more endeared.


Oh beautiful! and rare as beautiful! But theirs was Love in which the Mind delights To lose itself, when the old world grows dull, And we are sick of its hack sounds and sights, Intrigues, adventures of the common school, Its petty passions, marriages, and flights, Where Hymen's torch but brands one strumpet more, Whose husband only knows her not a whore.


Hard words—harsh truth! a truth which many know. Enough.—The faithful and the fairy pair, Who never found a single hour too slow, What was it made them thus exempt from care? Young innate feelings all have felt below, Which perish in the rest, but in them were Inherent—what we mortals call romantic, And always envy, though we deem it frantic.


This is in others a factitious state, An opium dream[238] of too much youth and reading, But was in them their nature or their fate: No novels e'er had set their young hearts bleeding,[dm] For Haidee's knowledge was by no means great, And Juan was a boy of saintly breeding; So that there was no reason for their loves More than for those of nightingales or doves.


They gazed upon the sunset; 't is an hour Dear unto all, but dearest to their eyes, For it had made them what they were: the power Of Love had first o'erwhelmed them from such skies, When Happiness had been their only dower, And Twilight saw them linked in Passion's ties; Charmed with each other, all things charmed that brought The past still welcome as the present thought.


I know not why, but in that hour to-night, Even as they gazed, a sudden tremor came, And swept, as 't were, across their hearts' delight, Like the wind o'er a harp-string, or a flame, When one is shook in sound, and one in sight: And thus some boding flashed through either frame, And called from Juan's breast a faint low sigh, While one new tear arose in Haidee's eye.


That large black prophet eye seemed to dilate And follow far the disappearing sun, As if their last day of a happy date With his broad, bright, and dropping orb were gone; Juan gazed on her as to ask his fate— He felt a grief, but knowing cause for none, His glance inquired of hers for some excuse For feelings causeless, or at least abstruse.


She turned to him, and smiled, but in that sort Which makes not others smile; then turned aside: Whatever feeling shook her, it seemed short, And mastered by her wisdom or her pride; When Juan spoke, too—it might be in sport— Of this their mutual feeling, she replied— "If it should be so,—but—it cannot be— Or I at least shall not survive to see."


Juan would question further, but she pressed His lip to hers, and silenced him with this, And then dismissed the omen from her breast, Defying augury with that fond kiss; And no doubt of all methods 't is the best: Some people prefer wine—'t is not amiss; I have tried both—so those who would a part take May choose between the headache and the heartache.


One of the two, according to your choice, Woman or wine, you'll have to undergo; Both maladies are taxes on our joys: But which to choose, I really hardly know; And if I had to give a casting voice, For both sides I could many reasons show, And then decide, without great wrong to either, It were much better to have both than neither.


Juan and Haidee gazed upon each other With swimming looks of speechless tenderness, Which mixed all feelings—friend, child, lover, brother— All that the best can mingle and express When two pure hearts are poured in one another, And love too much, and yet can not love less; But almost sanctify the sweet excess By the immortal wish and power to bless.


Mixed in each other's arms, and heart in heart, Why did they not then die?—they had lived too long Should an hour come to bid them breathe apart; Years could but bring them cruel things or wrong; The World was not for them—nor the World's art For beings passionate as Sappho's song; Love was born with them, in them, so intense, It was their very Spirit—not a sense.


They should have lived together deep in woods, Unseen as sings the nightingale;[239] they were Unfit to mix in these thick solitudes Called social, haunts of Hate, and Vice, and Care:[dn] How lonely every freeborn creature broods! The sweetest song-birds nestle in a pair; The eagle soars alone; the gull and crow Flock o'er their carrion, just like men below.


Now pillowed cheek to cheek, in loving sleep, Haidee and Juan their siesta took, A gentle slumber, but it was not deep, For ever and anon a something shook Juan, and shuddering o'er his frame would creep; And Haidee's sweet lips murmured like a brook A wordless music, and her face so fair Stirred with her dream, as rose-leaves with the air.[do]


Or as the stirring of a deep clear stream Within an Alpine hollow, when the wind Walks o'er it, was she shaken by the dream, The mystical Usurper of the mind— O'erpowering us to be whate'er may seem Good to the soul which we no more can bind; Strange state of being! (for 't is still to be) Senseless to feel, and with sealed eyes to see.[dp]


She dreamed of being alone on the sea-shore, Chained to a rock; she knew not how, but stir She could not from the spot, and the loud roar Grew, and each wave rose roughly, threatening her; And o'er her upper lip they seemed to pour, Until she sobbed for breath, and soon they were Foaming o'er her lone head, so fierce and high— Each broke to drown her, yet she could not die.


Anon—she was released, and then she strayed O'er the sharp shingles with her bleeding feet, And stumbled almost every step she made: And something rolled before her in a sheet, Which she must still pursue howe'er afraid: 'T was white and indistinct, nor stopped to meet Her glance nor grasp, for still she gazed and grasped, And ran, but it escaped her as she clasped.


The dream changed:—in a cave[240] she stood, its walls Were hung with marble icicles; the work Of ages on its water-fretted halls, Where waves might wash, and seals might breed and lurk; Her hair was dripping, and the very balls Of her black eyes seemed turned to tears, and mirk The sharp rocks looked below each drop they caught, Which froze to marble as it fell,—she thought.[dq]


And wet, and cold, and lifeless at her feet, Pale as the foam that frothed on his dead brow, Which she essayed in vain to clear, (how sweet Were once her cares, how idle seemed they now!) Lay Juan, nor could aught renew the beat Of his quenched heart: and the sea dirges low Rang in her sad ears like a Mermaid's song, And that brief dream appeared a life too long.


And gazing on the dead, she thought his face Faded, or altered into something new— Like to her Father's features, till each trace More like and like to Lambro's aspect grew— With all his keen worn look and Grecian grace; And starting, she awoke, and what to view? Oh! Powers of Heaven! what dark eye meets she there? 'T is—'t is her Father's—fixed upon the pair!


Then shrieking, she arose, and shrieking fell, With joy and sorrow, hope and fear, to see Him whom she deemed a habitant where dwell The ocean-buried, risen from death, to be Perchance the death of one she loved too well: Dear as her father had been to Haidee, It was a moment of that awful kind— I have seen such—but must not call to mind.


Up Juan sprang to Haidee's bitter shriek, And caught her falling, and from off the wall Snatched down his sabre, in hot haste to wreak Vengeance on him who was the cause of all: Then Lambro, who till now forbore to speak, Smiled scornfully, and said, "Within my call, A thousand scimitars await the word; Put up, young man, put up your silly sword."


And Haidee clung around him; "Juan, 't is— 'T is Lambro—'t is my father! Kneel with me— He will forgive us—yes—it must be—yes. Oh! dearest father, in this agony Of pleasure and of pain—even while I kiss Thy garment's hem with transport, can it be That doubt should mingle with my filial joy? Deal with me as thou wilt, but spare this boy."


High and inscrutable the old man stood, Calm in his voice, and calm within his eye— Not always signs with him of calmest mood: He looked upon her, but gave no reply; Then turned to Juan, in whose cheek the blood Oft came and went, as there resolved to die; In arms, at least, he stood, in act to spring On the first foe whom Lambro's call might bring.


"Young man, your sword;" so Lambro once more said: Juan replied, "Not while this arm is free." The old man's cheek grew pale, but not with dread, And drawing from his belt a pistol he Replied, "Your blood be then on your own head." Then looked close at the flint, as if to see 'T was fresh—for he had lately used the lock— And next proceeded quietly to cock.


It has a strange quick jar upon the ear, That cocking of a pistol, when you know A moment more will bring the sight to bear Upon your person, twelve yards off, or so; A gentlemanly distance, not too near, If you have got a former friend for foe; But after being fired at once or twice, The ear becomes more Irish, and less nice.


Lambro presented, and one instant more Had stopped this Canto, and Don Juan's breath, When Haidee threw herself her boy before; Stern as her sire: "On me," she cried, "let Death Descend—the fault is mine; this fatal shore He found—but sought not. I have pledged my faith; I love him—I will die with him: I knew Your nature's firmness—know your daughter's too."


A minute past, and she had been all tears, And tenderness, and infancy; but now She stood as one who championed human fears— Pale, statue-like, and stern, she wooed the blow; And tall beyond her sex, and their compeers, She drew up to her height, as if to show A fairer mark; and with a fixed eye scanned Her Father's face—but never stopped his hand.


He gazed on her, and she on him; 't was strange How like they looked! the expression was the same; Serenely savage, with a little change In the large dark eye's mutual—darted flame; For she, too, was as one who could avenge, If cause should be—a Lioness, though tame. Her Father's blood before her Father's face Boiled up, and proved her truly of his race.


I said they were alike, their features and Their stature, differing but in sex and years; Even to the delicacy of their hand[241] There was resemblance, such as true blood wears; And now to see them, thus divided, stand In fixed ferocity, when joyous tears And sweet sensations should have welcomed both, Shows what the passions are in their full growth.


The father paused a moment, then withdrew His weapon, and replaced it; but stood still, And looking on her, as to look her through, "Not I," he said, "have sought this stranger's ill; Not I have made this desolation: few Would bear such outrage, and forbear to kill; But I must do my duty—how thou hast Done thine, the present vouches for the past.[dr]


"Let him disarm; or, by my father's head, His own shall roll before you like a ball!" He raised his whistle, as the word he said, And blew; another answered to the call, And rushing in disorderly, though led, And armed from boot to turban, one and all, Some twenty of his train came, rank on rank; He gave the word,—"Arrest or slay the Frank."


Then, with a sudden movement, he withdrew His daughter; while compressed within his clasp, Twixt her and Juan interposed the crew; In vain she struggled in her father's grasp— His arms were like a serpent's coil: then flew Upon their prey, as darts an angry asp, The file of pirates—save the foremost, who Had fallen, with his right shoulder half cut through.


The second had his cheek laid open; but The third, a wary, cool old sworder, took The blows upon his cutlass, and then put His own well in; so well, ere you could look, His man was floored, and helpless at his foot, With the blood running like a little brook From two smart sabre gashes, deep and red— One on the arm, the other on the head.


And then they bound him where he fell, and bore Juan from the apartment: with a sign Old Lambro bade them take him to the shore, Where lay some ships which were to sail at nine.[ds] They laid him in a boat, and plied the oar Until they reached some galliots, placed in line; On board of one of these, and under hatches, They stowed him, with strict orders to the watches.


The world is full of strange vicissitudes, And here was one exceedingly unpleasant: A gentleman so rich in the world's goods, Handsome and young, enjoying all the present,[dt] Just at the very time when he least broods On such a thing, is suddenly to sea sent, Wounded and chained, so that he cannot move, And all because a lady fell in love.


Here I must leave him, for I grow pathetic, Moved by the Chinese nymph of tears, green tea! Than whom Cassandra was not more prophetic; For if my pure libations exceed three, I feel my heart become so sympathetic, That I must have recourse to black Bohea: 'T is pity wine should be so deleterious, For tea and coffee leave us much more serious,


Unless when qualified with thee, Cogniac! Sweet Naiad of the Phlegethontic rill! Ah! why the liver wilt thou thus attack,[du]— And make, like other nymphs, thy lovers ill? I would take refuge in weak punch, but rack (In each sense of the word), whene'er I fill My mild and midnight beakers to the brim, Wakes me next morning with its synonym.[242]


I leave Don Juan for the present, safe— Not sound, poor fellow, but severely wounded; Yet could his corporal pangs amount to half Of those with which his Haidee's bosom bounded? She was not one to weep, and rave, and chafe, And then give way, subdued because surrounded; Her mother was a Moorish maid from Fez, Where all is Eden, or a wilderness.


There the large olive rains its amber store In marble fonts; there grain, and flower, and fruit, Gush from the earth until the land runs o'er;[243] But there, too, many a poison-tree has root, And Midnight listens to the lion's roar, And long, long deserts scorch the camel's foot, Or heaving whelm the helpless caravan; And as the soil is, so the heart of man.


Afric is all the Sun's, and as her earth Her human clay is kindled; full of power For good or evil, burning from its birth, The Moorish blood partakes the planet's hour, And like the soil beneath it will bring forth: Beauty and love were Haidee's mother's dower; But her large dark eye showed deep Passion's force, Though sleeping like a lion near a source.[dv]


Her daughter, tempered with a milder ray, Like summer clouds all silvery, smooth, and fair, Till slowly charged with thunder they display Terror to earth, and tempest to the air, Had held till now her soft and milky way; But overwrought with Passion and Despair, The fire burst forth from her Numidian veins, Even as the Simoom[244] sweeps the blasted plains.


The last sight which she saw was Juan's gore, And he himself o'ermastered and cut down; His blood was running on the very floor Where late he trod, her beautiful, her own; Thus much she viewed an instant and no more,— Her struggles ceased with one convulsive groan; On her Sire's arm, which until now scarce held Her writhing, fell she like a cedar felled.


A vein had burst, and her sweet lips' pure dyes[dw] Were dabbled with the deep blood which ran o'er;[245] And her head drooped, as when the lily lies O'ercharged with rain: her summoned handmaids bore Their lady to her couch with gushing eyes; Of herbs and cordials they produced their store, But she defied all means they could employ, Like one Life could not hold, nor Death destroy.


Days lay she in that state unchanged, though chill— With nothing livid, still her lips were red; She had no pulse, but Death seemed absent still; No hideous sign proclaimed her surely dead; Corruption came not in each mind to kill All hope; to look upon her sweet face bred New thoughts of Life, for it seemed full of soul— She had so much, Earth could not claim the whole.


The ruling passion, such as marble shows When exquisitely chiselled, still lay there, But fixed as marble's unchanged aspect throws O'er the fair Venus, but for ever fair;[246] O'er the Laocoon's all eternal throes, And ever-dying Gladiator's air, Their energy like life forms all their fame, Yet looks not life, for they are still the same.—[dx]


She woke at length, but not as sleepers wake, Rather the dead, for Life seemed something new, A strange sensation which she must partake Perforce, since whatsoever met her view Struck not on memory, though a heavy ache Lay at her heart, whose earliest beat still true Brought back the sense of pain without the cause, For, for a while, the Furies made a pause.


She looked on many a face with vacant eye, On many a token without knowing what: She saw them watch her without asking why, And recked not who around her pillow sat; Not speechless, though she spoke not—not a sigh Relieved her thoughts—dull silence and quick chat Were tried in vain by those who served; she gave No sign, save breath, of having left the grave.


Her handmaids tended, but she heeded not; Her Father watched, she turned her eyes away; She recognised no being, and no spot, However dear or cherished in their day; They changed from room to room—but all forgot— Gentle, but without memory she lay; At length those eyes, which they would fain be weaning Back to old thoughts, waxed full of fearful meaning.


And then a slave bethought her of a harp; The harper came, and tuned his instrument; At the first notes, irregular and sharp, On him her flashing eyes a moment bent, Then to the wall she turned as if to warp Her thoughts from sorrow through her heart re-sent; And he began a long low island-song Of ancient days, ere Tyranny grew strong.


Anon her thin wan fingers beat the wall In time to his old tune: he changed the theme, And sung of Love; the fierce name struck through all Her recollection; on her flashed the dream Of what she was, and is, if ye could call To be so being; in a gushing stream The tears rushed forth from her o'erclouded brain, Like mountain mists at length dissolved in rain.


Short solace, vain relief!—Thought came too quick, And whirled her brain to madness; she arose As one who ne'er had dwelt among the sick, And flew at all she met, as on her foes; But no one ever heard her speak or shriek, Although her paroxysm drew towards its close;— Hers was a frenzy which disdained to rave, Even when they smote her, in the hope to save.


Yet she betrayed at times a gleam of sense; Nothing could make her meet her Father's face, Though on all other things with looks intense She gazed, but none she ever could retrace; Food she refused, and raiment; no pretence Availed for either; neither change of place, Nor time, nor skill, nor remedy, could give her Senses to sleep—the power seemed gone for ever.


Twelve days and nights she withered thus; at last, Without a groan, or sigh, or glance, to show A parting pang, the spirit from her passed: And they who watched her nearest could not know The very instant, till the change that cast Her sweet face into shadow, dull and slow,[dy] Glazed o'er her eyes—the beautiful, the black— Oh! to possess such lustre—and then lack!


She died, but not alone; she held, within, A second principle of Life, which might Have dawned a fair and sinless child of sin;[dz] But closed its little being without light, And went down to the grave unborn, wherein Blossom and bough lie withered with one blight; In vain the dews of Heaven descend above The bleeding flower and blasted fruit of Love.


Thus lived—thus died she; never more on her Shall Sorrow light, or Shame. She was not made Through years or moons the inner weight to bear, Which colder hearts endure till they are laid By age in earth: her days and pleasures were Brief, but delightful—such as had not staid Long with her destiny; but she sleeps well[247] By the sea-shore, whereon she loved to dwell.


That isle is now all desolate and bare, Its dwellings down, its tenants passed away; None but her own and Father's grave is there, And nothing outward tells of human clay; Ye could not know where lies a thing so fair, No stone is there to show, no tongue to say, What was; no dirge, except the hollow sea's,[ea] Mourns o'er the beauty of the Cyclades.


But many a Greek maid in a loving song Sighs o'er her name; and many an islander With her Sire's story makes the night less long; Valour was his, and Beauty dwelt with her: If she loved rashly, her life paid for wrong— A heavy price must all pay who thus err, In some shape; let none think to fly the danger, For soon or late Love is his own avenger.


But let me change this theme, which grows too sad, And lay this sheet of sorrows on the shelf; I don't much like describing people mad, For fear of seeming rather touched myself— Besides, I've no more on this head to add; And as my Muse is a capricious elf, We'll put about, and try another tack With Juan, left half-killed some stanzas back.


Wounded and fettered, "cabined, cribbed, confined,"[248] Some days and nights elapsed before that he Could altogether call the past to mind; And when he did, he found himself at sea, Sailing six knots an hour before the wind; The shores of Ilion lay beneath their lee— Another time he might have liked to see 'em, But now was not much pleased with Cape Sigeum.


There, on the green and village-cotted hill, is (Flanked by the Hellespont, and by the sea) Entombed the bravest of the brave, Achilles; They say so—(Bryant[249] says the contrary): And further downward, tall and towering still, is The tumulus—of whom? Heaven knows! 't may be Patroclus, Ajax, or Protesilaus— All heroes, who if living still would slay us.[eb]


High barrows, without marble, or a name, A vast, untilled, and mountain-skirted plain,[ec] And Ida in the distance, still the same, And old Scamander (if 't is he) remain; The situation seems still formed for fame— A hundred thousand men might fight again, With ease; but where I sought for Ilion's walls, The quiet sheep feeds, and the tortoise[250] crawls;[ed]


Troops of untended horses; here and there Some little hamlets, with new names uncouth; Some shepherds (unlike Paris) led to stare A moment at the European youth Whom to the spot their school-boy feelings bear;[ee] A Turk, with beads in hand, and pipe in mouth, Extremely taken with his own religion, Are what I found there—but the devil a Phrygian.


Don Juan, here permitted to emerge From his dull cabin, found himself a slave; Forlorn, and gazing on the deep blue surge, O'ershadowed there by many a Hero's grave; Weak still with loss of blood, he scarce could urge A few brief questions; and the answers gave No very satisfactory information About his past or present situation.


He saw some fellow captives, who appeared To be Italians (as they were in fact)— From them, at least, their destiny he heard, Which was an odd one; a troop going to act In Sicily—all singers, duly reared In their vocation, had not been attacked In sailing from Livorno by the pirate, But sold by the impresario at no high rate.[251]


By one of these, the buffo[252] of the party, Juan was told about their curious case; For although destined to the Turkish mart, he Still kept his spirits up—at least his face; The little fellow really looked quite hearty, And bore him with some gaiety and grace, Showing a much more reconciled demeanour, Than did the prima donna and the tenor.


In a few words he told their hapless story, Saying, "Our Machiavelian impresario, Making a signal off some promontory, Hailed a strange brig—Corpo di Caio Mario! We were transferred on board her in a hurry, Without a single scudo of salario; But if the Sultan has a taste for song, We will revive our fortunes before long.


"The prima donna, though a little old, And haggard with a dissipated life, And subject, when the house is thin, to cold, Has some good notes; and then the tenor's wife, With no great voice, is pleasing to behold; Last carnival she made a deal of strife, By carrying off Count Cesare Cicogna From an old Roman Princess at Bologna.


"And then there are the dancers; there's the Nini, With more than one profession gains by all; Then there's that laughing slut the Pelegrini, She, too, was fortunate last Carnival, And made at least five hundred good zecchini, But spends so fast, she has not now a paul; And then there's the Grotesca—such a dancer! Where men have souls or bodies she must answer.

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